Thursday, December 19, 2013

Agent-based Modeling and Theme Parks

Many of us have been to theme parks and waited in long lines to get on a particular attraction (ride), which to some extent reduces the overall experience of going to a theme park (i.e. no-one really likes waiting). The question is what causes these lines to build up and at what times of the day. Moreover, what can be done to reduce such lines thus increasing the visitors experience? These are perfect questions for an agent-based model to explore.  So while at the Winter Simulation Conference, in Washington DC the other week I happened to listen to a paper entitled "An Agent-Based Simulation Approach to Experience Management in Theme Parks" by a group of researchers from the Living Analytics Research Center (LARC) of the Singapore Management University.

GUI of the Smartphone App
In the paper, the authors explore how an agent-based model can be used to increase peoples experience within a theme park. What was particularly interesting about the paper is how the authors used a smartphone app to collect visitors behaviors while at a particular theme park over the course of a day. They then used this data in an agent-based model to understand how the crowds build up at specific attractions and explore various control polices which could potentially increase the visitors experience (i.e. reduce wait times). More information about the project can be found here and other work (publications) from LARC here.

Full reference to the paper:
Cheng, S.-F., Lin, L., Du, J., Lau, H.C. and Varakantham, P. (2013), 'An Agent-Based Simulation Approach to Experience Management in Theme Parks', in Pasupathy, R., Kim, S.-H., Tolk, A., Hill, R. and Kuhl, M.E. (eds.), Proceedings of the 2013 Winter Simulation Conference, Washington, DC, pp. 1527-1538.

No comments: